Climbing the winding stair, you stop to catch your breath. Too many cups of coffee and not enough solids for your morning meal mean there’s now a turmoil in your lower intestine. Plus, your heart is fluttering. You’ve been waiting for this meeting for over eight months, personally causing no fewer than four owls to be sent to rehab for exhaustion by sending florid letter after florid letter and supplication after supplication to the same address. To no avail. You’ve waited up countless nights, staring at the wasted moon above Ravnica’s angular skyline. You’re a nobody, a simple hustler, a member of the much-maligned press in this great city. Just last night, you lay awake in your bed, insomnia running rampant as usual, and imagined her opening the latest of your literary appeals.
“Really?” she would say, pale fingers ripping the envelope to shreds, disregarding the wax seal you’d painstakingly done so perfectly. “Another letter from that simpleton? Please, spare me,” and in your mind’s eye, she tossed the lovingly-penned words into the fire. Or into her rabid pet ferret’s cage, where it promptly evacuated its bowels on your greeting:
“Honored Grand Envoy Teysa Karlov, Lord of House Karlov, Lady of Shadows and Light and Foremost of the Godless Shrine . . . ”
But now, now she’s agreed to see you. The excitement threatens to make you faint, right there on the gleaming marble staircase of the Karlov mansion. You steady yourself, gripping the golden bannister with white knuckles. Swallowing bile, you force your feet to move one in front of the other, until you reach the upper landing.
Whispers and the feathery, noctambulistic caresses of passing ghosts accompany you. Their lullaby echoes sedate you into a state of nerveless calm.
“Enter,” rings out a clear, cool voice from within the study. The massive ebony doors, intricately carved with the idolatry of Orzhova, swing inward of their own accord.
Thank you, your grace. You’re not sure if you speak these words aloud or if they only manifest in your head. Regardless, she looks up and acknowledges your existence, nodding once, sharply. You’re struck by the depth of her large, almost childlike eyes. Her complexion is as pale as rumor had it, like the moonlit sheen on the petals of a deathlily—befitting one who conducts all of her work indoors. Her hair is so dark that even in midmorning, as it is now, the lustrous ebony locks gleam blue as if touched by stars.
She tolerates your stare as she writes, not raising her eyes from the parchment. She moves the swan’s quill in sharp, angular strokes, creating rivers of orderly black script across the page.
“Well, you asked for this meeting,” she finally says, still writing. Her face hasn’t changed, but you feel as if somehow she’s having a chuckle at your expense. You open your mouth to respond—usually notoriously witty, you find all your words have deserted you. She puts her pen down and lifts her gaze to meet yours, resting her head on her right hand.
“You know, you’re better-looking than I expected,” she says.
I had some questions . . .
Teysa Karlov smiles, and you feel wry, cool fingers slip inside your soul and wrap themselves around your simpleton’s heart.
Did you catch the hidden message in Teysa’s interview? Comment or tweet at me with your answers—all participants will be entered in a drawing for an altered card and a “non-dairy” frozen treat.
Until next time, may Magic be your guilt-free Rice Dream vanilla bites with rich, thick chocolate coating.